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Poster: wineland Date: Nov 27, 2007 9:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: '73 vs. '74

At first this may seem like I am dodging the question, but hear me out. I would have to say the transition between the two years is the most inspiring to me. Late 73 you see something changing. Subtle, and then before you know it, you are in a new era. I think that is what I like about the view when SOTM. You can look down and see all 30 years. I've heard the incredible moments and they still hackle my neck hairs with unbridled excitement. But it is the transition that I love. And at the point when they find their groove in that time and place. When they arrive at the sound they were building up to. And then it is on to a new era again. If I had to pinpoint a sweet spot there, it would be Nov '73. Specifically the Winterland shows, Nov 9 - 10 - 11. They haven't turned the corner yet, but you can tell something new is afoot.

Great post Ashes. Late 79 has this same transition feel that I was trying to describe. Bring in Hornsby for another timeperiod. Maybe that is the beauty of the post-coma 87-88 that I haven't quite seen the light on.

Peace be to you brother.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Nov 28, 2007 1:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: '73 vs. '74

Sometimes the transitions are not so subtle....Jan '68, summer '69, Feb '71 and again in fall '71, and of course Feb '73....

Early '79 does not get mentioned very much, but I think it's a strong transition point (even the Keith shows), with Garcia's style changing from what it was in '78 and the shows more upbeat & less grinding. (Just my impression.)
I think there's another abrupt shift in '80, when they make an about-turn from their more exploratory fall '79 phase and get into simpler jam-lite shows. Then in '81 they go back to more expansive playing. Quite a lot of twists & turns on the Dead journey.

Perhaps someone can make a post explaining the elusive beauty of 87/88.....sounded like ragged "let's-get-it-over-with" years to me!

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Poster: mcgannahan Date: Nov 28, 2007 4:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: '73 vs. '74

yeah, the dead are like this enormous patch quilt, each square containing a new element, or wrinkle in style. the whole body of work is intimidating, and can take a lifetime to digest and appreciate. how old's the mona lisa?

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Poster: sydthecat2 Date: Nov 28, 2007 5:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: '73 vs. '74

87-89 is a warm-up for 89-90. The trajectory of Garcia's recovery from his coma is remarkable. But I've heard some terrific shows from both years (Toronto Scarlet>Fire '87, Calaveras '87 the 2nd night, New Year's '87, first night and New Year's Eve) 1988 in particular (So What>Scarlet>Fire in Hampton, the Greek run in July (June?).

But let's get back to 73 vs. 74. I flit back and forth like a merry firefly. But I dig early '73 the most because it retains the vestiges of '72. I was a huge '74 fan for years (Freedom Hall! Freedom Hall!) but I must confess that now it's that Spring Tour '73 that really sends me. And then there's the summer RFK and Vancouver shows. Too much! My brother loves '74 because it's the band at their jazziest. He's also a big fan of '77 though.

Ask me next year and I may have changed my mind but I came out of a long '74 phase last year.

Spring Tour '73.

Lasltly check out the transition from Uncle John's into Estimated on Dec. 27, 1987 and tell me if that isn't a tight band!!!

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Poster: yesss! Date: Nov 28, 2007 11:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: '73 vs. '74

first off- this is a great topic. late 71-75 is my favorite era and the band is pretty much evolving the whole time. during this period years seem less relevant in documenting the changes than tours, as each tour sort of has it's own vibe. that said, i think the biggest evolutionary step between 72 and 74 happens right at the beginning of 73. it seems like all of a sudden there is new material (eyes and wrs being the most significant), new playing styles (jerry gets very nimble and articulate and begins to incorporate more diverse harmonic content and use more creative melodic devices, i.e.- gets more "jazzy"), and the overall sonic character of the band's sound seems to change. now i'm not quite sure if this is the result of different micing/recording practices (especially the drums), stage setup (it sort of sounds like the band members are far apart and miced discretely instead of close together with lots of amp bleed), new instruments (early 73 still has the bite of the strat, but wolf brought something new), or just the way that the musicians were playing, but 73 in general seems to have a much lighter and airier sound than either 72 or 74. early 73 still has some of the drive and spunk of 72, but most of the year sounds to me as though they are playing quietly, sensitively, almost cautiously. this works when it translates as conscious and deliberate and respectful, but not when it comes across as timid, weak, or scared. of course there are still bold and aggressive moments in 73 and some really adventurous playing throughout the year- especially fall/winter. 74 continues the jazzy trend and adds a layer of angular fusion and gritty, bluesy funk into the mix. the ensemble sound also becomes denser and dirtier, with the tendency in jams being to play more, faster, louder, darker, and dissonant, as opposed to the looser and more impressionistic washes that characterize a lot of 73 jams. there are still light, beautiful moments in 74 (6/23 jam>ship) just like there are nasty 73 jams, but overall there is less tender and more tough.

blah, blah, jerry, blah... i'll just wrap it up by saying 2/28/73, 6/10/73, 9/7/73, 11/11/73, 5/19/74, 6/18/74, 8/6/74, etc.. lots to love.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Nov 28, 2007 6:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: '73 vs. '74

Thank you all!

Nice description, Mr. Yesss. You should post more often.